HomeLocal NewsNo More Opposition to Indian Investment: Manusha Foresees Economic Growth

    No More Opposition to Indian Investment: Manusha Foresees Economic Growth

    The Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment, Manusha Nanayakkara, said that with the opposition to inviting Indian firms to invest in Sri Lanka having faded away, there is a great opportunity to accelerate the country’s development.
    He noted that Indian investments could transform loss-making state-owned enterprises, creating more job opportunities and benefiting the economy.

    The Minister was speaking at the “Jayagamu Sri Lanka” People’s Mobile Service program at Independence Avenue in Kegalle.
    The Jayagamu Sri Lanka program aims to bring various government services directly to the people in their own areas of residence. The program will be held today (February 23rd) and tomorrow (February 24th) at Independence Avenue in Kegalle.

    The Minister addressing the gathering went on to say;

    Masons, carpenters, plumbers, and others will be able to register and receive certificates from the NITA Institute and Vocational Training Authority, who are present at this location today, by demonstrating the knowledge they have acquired. Additionally, please notify the relevant officer at the Divisional Secretariat if professional training is required or to acquire the necessary certificates.

    As the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment, we are ready to pay the relevant amount for these certificates. The President has advised me to take measures to provide certificates, funded by the government, to all individuals who have worked in various professions in this country but currently do not possess certificates.
    Even today, a large number of people have come here hoping to find opportunities for foreign employment. Numerous foreign employment agencies are also present. However, these agencies require qualifications. Despite the availability of many job opportunities through these institutions, we face a significant challenge due to the lack of certificates. Fortunately, the President covers the cost of obtaining these certificates, which is a generous gift to all.
    You are not covered under the Department of Labor. However, other professionals, especially government employees, enjoy pension benefits. Those in the private sector have employee provident funds and disaster insurance.
    While there is a compensation system for accidents in the private sector, unfortunately, you do not have such a system. There is no support system for your family in case of an accident – that is the reality. This is why the President has advised us to develop a social security system that encompasses everyone.
    In a very short period, we will present a social security system to the cabinet that will include everyone in the country, except government employees.
    All the various insurance systems implemented so far are being consolidated, and a comprehensive protection system is being prepared. Soon, you will also be eligible to receive a pension or gratuity when you are no longer able to work.

    We work to promote dignity among informal sector workers by establishing professional associations related to their respective fields. For instance, professional associations are created for pre-school teachers.
    These associations determine the qualifications required for jobs in the relevant field. As a result, in the future, having a license won’t be the sole criterion for driving a bus, and owning a three-wheeler at home won’t automatically qualify you for hire on the road. This is another benefit of this approach.

    We are introducing a new Employment Bill to replace the outdated Labour Act. The current law is very old. The new Bill is designed to align with the requirements of the modern world.

    In a new chapter of this Bill, the scope of these associations is also outlined. The Minister has the authority to issue standards and regulations for the relevant association from time to time. Following this, you will have the opportunity to file a complaint with the Department of Labour, and subsequently, you will also be entitled to professional rights.
    Whether you are paid daily or monthly, we are working to enroll you in an electronic payroll system so that you can be assured of security.
    Now, the Bill is with the Legal Draftsman’s Department and will soon be submitted to Parliament. We will incorporate your comments into the bill and finalize it. Only then will you receive the proper benefits. Today, we come to you with 90 percent of the work completed.
    We all remember how the country was two years ago. At that time, when no one wanted to accept this challenge, it was President Ranil Wickremesinghe who fearlessly took over the reins of this country. That is why the country has reached such a stable position today.
    You are the smart participants of the Jayagamu Sri Lanka program. We are running this program to enhance your intelligence. We cannot wait until 2048; we are already working on it. Our goal is to create a foundation where you can make more significant contributions. Human resources are our primary assets.
    Now, no one is opposing the government’s invitation for Indian firms to invest in Sri Lanka. No one is opposing the deals with Amul or Adani. The reason is that they visited India.
    For so long, when we tried to invite India to invest in our ports, there were challenges. However, now we can invite them without any issues. Their visit to India was a great help for us. In this way, without any obstacles, we can develop the country even before 2048.

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